Chipotle Black Beans

Black Beans in a Jar
Photo by Colin Price

These beans are so good. I make them for tacos, bean bowls, chili, sides, and the like. I’ve been sitting on this recipe for almost three years and I have absolutely no excuse for that. Chef Samin Nosrat taught me how to make beans when I took her Home Ec class in San Francisco. After some experimentation, this continues to be my favorite way of making beans: slowly and smokily. Samin is also posting all sorts of great recipes for #beanmonth (yay) and you should join in the fun.

Chipotle Black Beans

Adapted from Samin Nosrat – Serves 4


  • 14–16oz of whole dried black beans
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 5 or 6 dried chipotle peppers
  • 3 whole garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • kosher salt
  • a pinch of baking soda (optional)
  • tasty olive oil


Pour the beans into a large bowl and rinse them with cold water. Cover them with fresh water and let them soak overnight, or for at least 4 hours. Drain the beans and rinse them thoroughly, and then pour them into a large pot. Cover with fresh water and carry those beauties to the stove.

Bring the beans to a boil while you prep and add the other ingredients.

Boil a small amount of water to soften the chipotle peppers, either on the stove or with a kettle. I put the peppers in a small mason jar or tea cup and steep them until they’re soft—and then pour the peppers— stems, water, and all—into the bean pot.

Peel the onion and slice it in half. Add that to the pot with the bay leaves and two or three generous grabs of salt. Peel the garlic and slice off the rooted end. Add that in. You can add other spices too, like cumin or coriander. (The pot I made today had a generous shake or three of whole cumin seeds.)

Once the beans are boiling, turn them down to a low simmer and cook them until they’re soft, skimming the scum from the top of the water line occasionally. Beans can take anywhere from an hour to four or five hours. The instructions on the packaging tend to underestimate the time, in my experience, so I make beans on Saturdays while reading and wait to eat them the following day.

Continue salting the broth until it tastes good, checking the beans periodically until they’re melty and delicious. Add in a few glugs of olive oil later in the process, and serve when ready.

Categorized as Recipe

By Nicole Fenton

Nicole Fenton is a content designer, writer, and researcher. They started Born Hungry as a way to explore and encourage cooking at home.